Wassup Updated

Via the inestimable Mr Wallis.

She Went Of Her Own Accord (.com)

In case you missed it, the super secret new side-project has finally gone live.

She Went Of Her Own Accord (.com)

Nick and I have wanted to do this for a few years. I registered the domain recently and we quietly hacked an instance of WordPress in our spare time last week to get something usable in place. Today, shewentofherownaccord.com is a modest but fast-growing user contributed collection of jokes. Specifically, and this is important, jokes in the following form:

My wife’s gone to the Caribbean.


No, she went of her own accord.

There are as many of these jokes as there are place names and the imagination to create (sometimes quite convoluted) puns with them. The 1st line is a setup, 2nd line is a place-pun, 3rd line is a retort. It’s all about respecting the constraints of the form, in the same way that Haiku are more beautiful because of the constraints, not despite them.

My favourite feature – and I can say this with full modesty because, as with most of the interesting features, Nick added it – is the master map.


In the four days since we quietly launched the site it has already grown from 24 to 62 jokes meaning that we’ve already reached a stage where user contributions outnumber our own. Some of them are really funny too (someone calling himself Gruff has been responsible for some of my favourites so far).

There’s lots of work still to do but if you’re inspired to add your own or want to find out more then come join us. It’s already a lot of fun.

Here Comes Another Bubble

richterScales_bubble_scoble Ze Frank recently linked to a wonderful Web 2.0 parody song/video called ‘Here Comes Another Bubble‘ by an a cappella group called The Richter Scales.

It’s brilliant.

I particularly like this moment from 1:36, with Scoble being used as the backdrop to “blog even if you’re wrong”.

Much as I enjoy it, I would make one observation. The wall of Web 2.0 logos shown between 0:12 to 0:16 seems to be from this famous image on Flickr by Stablio Boss. I notice this is licensed Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share-alike yet I don’t see any attribution in the video or on the group’s site.

Update: a new version of the video, with credits, has been released. I’ve replaced the embedded video with the new version.

Keen vs Colbert

Ironically, given that he claims that “the internet is destroying our culture”, I keep noticing Andrew Keen thanks to the web.

I missed an opportunity to hear him speak in London last night. (And how did I hear about the event, before and during? Twitter, of course). The evening was, to put it mildly, not well received by my contemporaries. Tom Coates wants to put him on the naughty step, Euan Semple called him a troll and Llloyd Davis called him a liar. In fact, all three posts have masses of insights into the night (not least Lloyds, which captures some great quotes).

So, I missed it. I found a small consolation while reading around today, I discovered that Andrew Keen appeared on the Colbert Report a while ago. Now, I don’t watch TV. I do have access to the internet though, which is just as well as it means I get to watch this segment.

Let’s step over the bit about the internet being worse than the Nazis (Keen only recently discovered Godwin’s law, after all) and begin with his thoughts on the internet.

“The problem with the internet is it’s making it increasingly difficult for artists to earn a living, because everyone is stealing.”

Wow. Really? Isn’t it making new business models possible too? Keen can’t have heard of the long tail I guess.

“The internet is trivialising culture to such an extent that everyone is broadcasting, everyone is writing blogs, everyone is putting music on the web…”

Well there’s your problem. Too many of the wrong people are making stuff. And while we’re thinking about bloggers, Keen says this of blogging and objectivity

“I think we need objective, professional journalists who responsibly collect the news…”

and so far I’m agreeing. Of course we do. In a small way it even reminds me of Ghandi’s famous response on being asked what he thought of Western civilization,”that would be nice”. Keen spoils all this by completing the sentence though.

“…rather than anonymous bloggers, who are often in the pay of corporations [or] foreign governments.”

Now he’s lost me on so many counts.

  • Professional journalists and bloggers (anonymous or otherwise) are somehow mutually exclusive?
  • Personally, I’m a blogger, and although I draw a salary from a corporation, they don’t (directly) pay me to blog. They’d pay me regardless of whether I blog or not, though hopefully blogging helps me do my job better. I blog as a person who happens to work for a corporation rather than on behalf of the corporation (if this is news to you, check the very bottom line of the page). I cant help feeling this would still cause Keen some problems.
  • In the pay of foreign governments? What’s the relevance? Are we in FUD territory here or what?

I’m glad I didn’t pay to see him speak last night.

Update: Adriana comes to the realisation that offline can’t handle trolls.

Fly me to the moon

And to think that people still doubt the moon landings ever even happened. In fact, just this week a few of us at work were debating this very issue over lunch. To put all our minds at rest, let’s enjoy these vintage photos, which John Tolva pointed at recently.

No doubt the simulations of the Saturn mission helped the real thing go off more smoothly, but was that blackboard really part of the deal? The “orbit of moon” label is comedy gold in its own right. Please, whoever is in charge of thee archives, can we get a higher resolution look at the equations at the top of the board?

Ze Frank

Ze Frank’s glorious experiment with a daily video podcast called simply The Show is coming to an end. To celebrate a glorious year, here’s what you’ve either been enjoying, or missing, …

  • 03-17-06 – “jessica simpson loves bush, neverland, iraqis buy fruit, google scalia, bill gates, one laptop per child, origami” – It all started here. He blinked in these very early ones.
  • 05-04-06“anti-intellectualism, death by meteor, meteor, myspace, wallup, attorney general, tom riley, Massachusetts, jet lagged, viagra” – the excellent ‘anti-intellectualism’ song
  • 05-15-06“hindsight, tired, delta”
  • 07-10-06“washington, ideas, brain crack” – great song. ‘Where the f**k do ideas come from?’
  • 07-14-06“ugly, designers, myspace, ugly, ugly song, mushy peas, momma, happy birthday becky” – The ‘I knows me some ugly’ MySpace song. (interesting pattern here.. I like the songs)
  • 08-30-06 – “are the NV’s gone yet?” – the fingers in food episode, wondering, without ever saying it for a change, if the new viewers are gone yet
  • 10-10-06“left turn ok” – Ze gets very meta
  • 12-19-06“baseline” – I find this helpful
  • 01-02-07“pityriasis rosea” – champagne faeries after a heavy new year
  • 01-25-07“from the detroit airport with love” – Hotel room etiquette

Lots of ‘getting started’ information about The Show on The Forum.

It’s not too late to catch up. Give yourself a break (um, about 9 hours?) Go back to the first one and watch them all.

Update: the last ever The Show is online. I’ll miss it.

White and nerdy

I’ve been a fan of Weird Al Yankovic, on and off, for quite a while. Maybe it’s because I’m a geek, but for me ‘Running with Scissors’ was mostly notable for ‘The Saga Begins’ and ‘It’s All About the Pentiums’. His latest album, ‘Straight Outta Lynwood’ feautures a wonderful parody of Chamillionaire’s Ridin’, in which Weird Al ‘White and Nerdy’.

If the MySpace link or the YouTube link don’t work, try Google video quickly, before it gets taken away. There’s a lot of content there, so the lyrics might be helpful too. Choice quotes:

  • MC Escher – that’s my favorite MC
  • My MySpace page is all totally pimped out / Got people beggin’ for my top eight spaces
  • I’ll ace any trivia quiz you bring on / I’m fluent in JavaScript as well as Klingon
Weird Al White and Nerdy vid

Coincidently, Ian has been trying to get me into Nerdcore recently. (Nice Wired piece with some background to Nerdcore.) MC Frontalont, self-proclaimed “world’s 579th greatest rapper”, has plenty of excellent material online to get in to before you buy his CD. (By the way, bands of the world take note. Putting a couple of tracks up on MySpace may work for you, but giving away all your tracks as decent quality MP3s for free legal download and offering the CD for sale is the way to go if you want a loyal fanbase.)

So, Weird Al does it yet again, and gets on the Nerdcore tip in the process. Word. The best bit? The compulsive, and practically self-referential Wikipedia article which revels in correcting mistakes and detailing way more information than anyone would ever need about the song.

Jon Stewart on Crossfire

BoingBoing, Waxy, even Slashdot carried the story; Jon Stewart (my favourite commentator/comedian/journalist) appearing on CNN’s Crossfire [transcript] ostensibly to promote his new book, managed not to mention the book and opted to berate his interviewers instead. [More mirrors] “Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America.”“You are partisan, what do you call it, hacks.”

Although this is making a big splash across the interweb, it seems Stewart has a history of telling the truth to CNN reporters. I found another great example from a couple of years ago.

Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About

Mil has a girlfriend. They argue. He wrote (hilarious) anecdotes about their arguments. Then he became a Guardian columnist and then wrote books. Now he no longer updates his website. The moral of all of this is hard to fathom. He can really write though.

Looking For… The Best of David Hasselhoff

Hasselhoff’s music finds large audiences in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. David has released over 30 albums, many of them going ‘gold’ (i.e. selling over half a million copies). His music is also favoured by those with the most extreme of eclectic tastes. Released in 1995, this one is an absolute jem.

His vocal range is as broad and sweeping as that of his acting.

— Iella Dunthorpe from Wellington, Delaware USA

A full 6 years have passed since this compilation’s release, and still the Grammy Awards have yet to recognize this monument of musical achievement.

— A music fan from Kessel Spice Mines

Loud beats want to make me get up and dance in apartment with brother Chau and man who rents room in my house. Number one singing!

— Wo Hong Liu from Bierstadt, Korea

…now through the miracle of the now-profitable Amazon, you can realize your Hasselhoff dreams and put all of his biggest hits on just one slot of your 5-CD changer, leaving the other slots for Ace of Base, Brooks & Dunn, Faith Hill, and that hilarious (sic) Garrison Keillor. Danke Schon Mister Hasselhoff!

— A music fan from Houston, Arkansas

… A quick selection of quotes from the dozens of reviews on Amazon. Interestingly, each one ended with the line ‘The song “Hot Shot City” is particularly good’. Does this indicate the work of one crazed individual? Or that a meme got picked up?. Quite probably both.

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